By Chenoah Eljan
It’s 2am and Ange Lavoipierre can’t sleep because life, mental load, anxiety, and that catch-all bag of delightful and absurd crap called the human condition. What ensues is one hour of sharp dialogue, guided sleep meditations, celebrity apologies, absurd movie trailers, interactive ASMR YouTube content and more than a passing reference to the 1973 supernatural horror film The Exorcist. In fact, this show is 97% Exorcist content. Diehard Exorcist fans (that have not themselves already, you know, died) will either love or hate this show. But they should see it anyway, everyone should.
Lavoipierre’s performance is extraordinary, her acting chops are top notch and her energy never waivers. Someone get this woman a quirky TV mini-series, pronto! (ABC I’m looking at you, she’s already on the payroll as a writer for Gruen and host and executive producer of the culture podcast Schmeitgeist).
The show’s premise in painfully relatable. Who among us hasn’t found themselves lying awake in the middle of the night with intrusive thoughts of mortifying pre-pubescent episodes and urgent unanswered questions like how dangerous that black mould in the bathroom is. And then there is the allure of The Internet. The standout part of this show is the dialogue between Lavoipierre and Brain and The Internet, voiceovers performed by Jane Watt. Lavoipierre and Watt also share the stage at this year’s Fringe in Jazz Or A Bucket Of Blood.
The show becomes increasingly frenetic as it goes on, which at times is more impressive (how does she remember all those words??) than engaging. It really is a lot of Exorcist content. But it’s probably not too much because a commitment to an idea which is then fully executed should be applauded. And Lavoipierre is fully committed. She tries to break it up with an absurd sleep meditation which is entirely consistent with every real-life sleep meditation available on The Internet. She also does a long interactive bit on ASMR which clearly resonates with four members of the audience who are in gales of laughter for a good ten minutes. The rest of the audience goes home to google ASMR, which, it turns out, stands for ‘autonomous sensory meridian response’ and is a section of the internet dedicated to content intended to induce a tingling sensation down the scalp, neck and spine. To the unfamiliar viewer, it’s unclear how Lavoipierre’s plastic Coles bag full of imaginary fluffy bunnies does that, but, it’s The Internet, so it’s a safe bet she is spot on.
Lavoipierre’s interactions with the audience are exceptional, not just because she is confident and relaxed in approaches but because she treats the audience with a warmth and respect seldom seen. She asks audience members “would you like to help me, or should I ask someone else?” and never imposes. This is the gold standard of audience participation.
If you want your mother (or anyone else for that matter) to enjoy the bounty of existence at her fullest capacity, as Lavoipierre puts it, buy her a ticket to this show. But tell her to google ASMR before she goes.